Treating myself. (Again…) At the Chesterfield Mayfair for afternoon tea! They actually do a special tea during their summer months and today is the first day. It’s Afternoon Bee and they use their homemade honey in a lot if their dessert recipes. :)
Casual morning walk through St. James’ Park and an eventual stroll by Buckingham Palace. Just another (last) day in the life of a wannabe Londoner.
Last day in London = souvenir shopping and afternoon tea.
Can’t wait to see you all! I’m spending my evening in a sugar coma after that tea, and packing my bag for the last time (at least for awhile!)
To complete my mini Scandinavian Adventure, I headed by train to Oslo, Norway. Of the three, Copenhagen was my favorite by far. I can’t say I highly recommend Stockholm or Oslo, although I’m certain lots of people will tell you differently. Perhaps I did it wrong, perhaps at this point I’m just ready to be back home. In any case, I saw what I really wanted to see in Oslo (and got caught in a hellish rainstorm while I was at it!)
First thing first: Oslo Fjord boat cruise! This was a super great way to see the fjord around the city and catch sight of some cute little Norwegian houses. The Oslo Fjord is different to the ones you might think of – with high hills and low valleys of water, but the land around the water is continuing to rise each year (one of the very few places that can say that!) so maybe in hundreds of years, this fjord will look more like what we think of.
On our way out of the dock, looking at City Hall.
This opera house was designed to look like an iceberg. I don’t see it, but maybe if I squint real hard… The art built in front of the building is supposed to be a sinking ship. I’m beginning to wonder if Norwegians think this is funny or…?
A church on a small island.
Beach boxes were very popular in the 20s, when alcohol was banned in Norway. Smugglers would use these to sell from.
And now here’s some pictures from my walk around!
National Theater and statue of Henrik Ibsen, famous playwright and resident of Oslo.
Oh, I also visited the National Gallery which has a whole section dedicated to Edvard Munch We know him best for “The Scream” which is on display here, but heavily guarded and so I don’t have real proof but hey – always cool to see those famous paintings! And the rest of Munch’s work, too, along with some other artists I’d never heard of but really enjoyed.
I went and walked around Vigeland Sculpture Park, which houses more than 200 sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland. Most of them are in pretty risqué poses/situations. The little angry boy is probably the most famous in the park.
That’s it for Oslo! Someday, I would LOVE to visit World’s End – the northern most tip of Norway. So I won’t say goodbye forever to this country just yet. :)
I’m back to London for one day before heading home!
I’m slacking on the blog, but I want to finish this or else I’ll regret it. Here’s some random photos I shot in Stockholm over the course of a few days. I have to admit I wasn’t in love with the capital of Sweden. I found it hard to navigate. Stockholm is a city spread out over a bunch of islands, which is interesting but makes it hard to get around by foot sometimes!
View of Gamla Stan (Old Town) from the island of Sodermalm.
I went and visited the palace of the Swedish royal family and my timing was perfect because I got to join a free guided tour of the Royal Apartments.
The original palace burned in a fire in 1697, but plans for this one were almost instantly drawn up - it took another 60 years for it be fully built. The building used to be used for parliament. The King would open parliament in the State Hall. The King still opens parliament, but now he goes to the people instead of making them come to him. I liked that.
We learned about the Order of Seraphim, which is only given to foreign diplomats/citizens and not Swedish citizens. Swedes receive medals, and they are only given on the King and Queen’s name days.
The polar star is the symbol of Sweden and it can be seen all over the palace. This was decided when King Louis XIV was in power in France. He used the symbol of the sun, but the sun goes down each day… the polar star never moves.
The family lived in this palace until 1980, but now they live in an area outside Stockholm and only use the palace for business. I guess this wouldn’t be a terrible place to work….
The City Hall is kind of cool, located right on the water on another island of Stockholm.
But you know what, I left Stockholm on a very high note. All I wanted was some relish meatballs. I scoped out some restaurants that got good reviews and decided on one on the island of Sodermalm: Pelikan.
They were served with lingonberries and pickles and gravy and everything was amazing. I would probably go back just for these:
I’m a big fan of tours where I might learn a bunch of new information, especially if I’m not exactly familiar with the city I’m visiting (ah hem, Copenhagen…) so I hopped on a boat tour called “Under the Bridges”.
The guide was an Italian woman, and she did the tour in Danish, English, and Italian. It was badass, to say the least. The tour took us under 14 bridges around Copenhagen and she pointed out all sorts of things/places.
This is the naval base, Amalienborg Palace (and Marble Church), and Our Saviours Church, respectively.
That last one has a bit of a funny story. The guide was very adamant that we have our cameras ready and waiting as we passed under the bridge because the church is only in real view for about 5 seconds. Therefore, a lot of people only get pictures of that tree to the right. Apparently it is the most photographed tree in all of Copenhagen, and there is a Facebook page dedicated to seeing who can get the most beautiful picture of the tree.
Here’s some other photos I grabbed during the cruise, but they aren’t of anything in particular that I can remember. Just some pretty buildings and bridges.
The cruise was really great, and it was a fun way to see the city!
I also climbed the Rundetaarn - the Round Tower. It’s just this giant round tower in the center of Copenhagen that is supposed to deliver wonderful views. It’s all barred off at the top so people can’t jump, which sort of takes away the appeal. But I still took a number of photos!
I wish I could have stayed another day or two in Copenhagen. I really enjoyed it there and I look forward to returning one day!
Don’t mind me, I’m just enjoying some Danish fare.
Hotdog with fried onions, pickled cucumbers, honey mustard makes for the best goddamn hotdog of my life.
Kartoffelmad at Dyrehaven. Essentially a piece of bread topped with amazing potatoes, crispy onions, cucumbers, radish, and a tasty sauce.
Also, Lagkagehuset: shut up and take all of my DKK. I cannot with how good these pastries were. I needed to get the hell out of Copenhagen or else I would have consumed every single thing they had in the shop.
Denmark is often rated the “Happiest Country” and even after spending only a couple short days in its capital city, I would never disagree with that placement. Everywhere I looked - among the thousands of bicycles and coffee shops and canals and pretty houses - there were smiles. It probably helped that the weather was incredible and I happened to be there over a holiday weekend, but still. Danish people are happy. And they have every reason to be. Copenhagen was (is) amazing. I won’t hesitate to spend more time in this country if I ever have the chance.
Also, I’m nearly 100% certain that the proportion of fluent English-speakers is higher in Denmark than it is the United States. Everywhere I went there were people who were clearly Danish, but were speaking English together. They would switch back and forth like it was absolutely nothing. Maybe there are just some things better said in English than in Danish? Who knows…
Anyway. Copenhagen is a great city and so easily walked! I spent my whole first day on foot. Starting with just some awesome water views and pretty buildings.
Hans Christian Andersen, the author of ‘The Little Mermaid’ was from Denmark. There is a statue of the mermaid on the outskirts of the city. Apparently she is more well known for having her head chopped off a number of times…
After fulfilling my most touristy of duties, I went off the Amalienborg Palace, residence of the royal family. There are four identical buildings overlooking a big square.
I happened to be there just in time for the changing of the guard, which was cool. Unlike in London, I actually could see everything and didn’t have to watch from someone’s iPad! :P
The guard boxes have little hearts cut out of the sides. And if you don’t think that is the cutest, I don’t know what to tell you.
Just down the street is the Marble Church.
There’s also Rosenborg Palace, which is a “small” palace surrounded by these massive gardens. I’ll admit I spent a couple hours just reading my book in the sun. It was so nice.
I’ve been starting to embrace the panorama shots this trip. Charles Bridge up to Prague Castle while I sit into the afternoon sunshine and enjoy my last day in Central Europe. :)
Old Town (Stare mesto) Square. The astronomical clock was built in 1410. It shows the time obviously, but also countless other things including (but not limited to) the phase of the moon, time of sunrise/sunset, and time in old Bohemian hours.
Taking a walk from Letenske Sady to get from my hostel to Old Town. The giant orange metronome was erected to replace a Stalinist monument. In the park, there was a large display of history and celebration of the years the Czech Republic has spent as a member of the European Union. Lots of pictures, including a few of citizens breaking down fences – literally knocking down borers between Czech Republic and other EU countries. So lovely!